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Offense wakes up as Braves plunk Cubs

    ATLANTA — Peter Moylan pitched three scoreless innings in relief of injured starter Tim Hudson, and the Atlanta Braves ended a four-game losing streak with a 9-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday night.
    Hudson limped off the field in the third inning after he was hit on his left leg by Jacque Jones’ sharply hit grounder. The right-hander limped slightly as he walked off the field with a bruised leg. X-rays were negative, and his status for his next start was not immediately known.
    Moylan (2-1) came in and allowed no hits and walked one for the win. Edgar Renteria homered and drove in four runs, and Andruw Jones added a two-run homer for the Braves.
    Atlanta had been held to one run in four of their last five losses, including back-to-back losses in the first two games of the series with the Cubs.
    One night after Alfonso Soriano hit the first pitch of the game for his first of three home runs, Hudson hit Soriano with a first-pitch fastball under Soriano’s left shoulder.
    Plate umpire Tim Tschida issued warnings to both benches, prompting Cubs manager Lou Piniella to emerge from the dugout — apparently to ask why his team should receive a warning.
    Tschida issued another warning when Moylan hit Cubs reliever Sean Gallagher with a pitch in the fourth. Again, Piniella complained, but this time he didn’t leave the bench.
    If Hudson was trying to send a message by hitting Soriano, it might not have meant much. The Cubs scored four runs in the first inning, including Derrek Lee’s run-scoring single and Mark DeRosa’s bases-loaded two-run single.
    Mike Fontenot, who started at second after his call-up from Triple-A Iowa, drove in Jones with a single for a 4-0 lead.
    Cubs starter Jason Marquis (5-3) gave up Jones’ two-run homer in the first and was knocked out of the game in Atlanta’s four-run second inning.
    Marquis gave up four hits and six runs, two earned, in 1 2-3 innings.
    Scott Thorman reached on a throwing error by Marquis to set up four unearned runs in the second. Kelly Johnson, Renteria and Jones drove in runs to knock Marquis out of the game, and Brian McCann singled off Gallagher to drive in the fourth run of the inning for a 6-4 lead.
    Lee led off the third with a single off Hudson and scored on Jacque Jones’ grounder to cut Atlanta’s lead to 6-5.
    Hudson gave up five hits and five runs in two innings, and his ERA rose from 3.09 to 3.51.
    Renteria hit a two-run homer, his ninth, in the fourth and added a run-scoring double in the sixth.
    The loss of Hudson came after the Braves placed starter Lance Cormier on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a tired arm. Also Saturday, John Smoltz said he will skip his scheduled start Sunday against the Cubs as he recovers from inflammation in his right shoulder.
    The Braves recalled pitcher Buddy Carlyle to start Sunday.
Notes: Renteria had his second four-RBI game of the season. ... Gallagher, called up from Double-A Tennessee on Wednesday, made his major league debut for the Cubs, giving up three hits and two runs in 3 1-3 innings. ... Jones made a diving catch to take a hit away from Michael Barrett in the seventh. ... Soriano threw out Thorman at the plate in the seventh. ... The attendance was 51,816, the sixth-largest crowd in Atlanta history and fourth-largest in Turner Field history.

Jones has good workout
    Chipper Jones was optimistic about his sore wrists after he fielded some ground balls and made some soft throws across the infield on Saturday during the Atlanta Braves’ batting practice.
    ‘‘All that went pretty well,’’ Jones said.
    ‘‘This is one of the few days I’ve really been encouraged. ... As long as I keep getting better, it shouldn’t be too long.’’
    Jones was examined by hand specialist Dr. Gary Lourie Saturday. Lourie gave the go-ahead for the third baseman to remove the Velcro splints on each wrist and take ground balls and throw for the first time since he was placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 1, retroactive to May 24.
    Jones injured both wrists in a May 11 collision with Pittsburgh’s Jose Bautista.
    Jones’ upbeat mood Saturday was a notable difference from Friday, when he said he was feeling a little better but could do ‘‘nothing.’’
    On Friday, Jones said he hoped to begin baseball drills next week, so he was ahead of that pace Saturday.
    In addition to his workout during batting practice, Jones tried some wrist curls and grip exercises in the training room. He said the next test will be to see how his wrists respond Sunday.
    Jones and manager Bobby Cox have said Jones won’t need a minor league rehab stint when he’s ready to play.
    Without Jones in his usual No. 3 spot in the batting order, the Braves’ offense has struggled. The Braves were held to one run in four of their last five losses, even though rookie Yunel Escobar was hitting .344 in eight games as Jones’ most recent replacement.
    Jones said he hoped to start swinging a bat ‘‘in a matter of days.’’

Smoltz scratched from Sunday
    Atlanta Braves veteran John Smoltz will miss his scheduled start Sunday against the Chicago Cubs, and Lance Cormier was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a tired arm on Saturday.
    The Braves recalled pitcher Buddy Carlyle from Triple-A Richmond to start Sunday against the Cubs.
    Smoltz will miss a start with inflammation in his right shoulder despite saying he felt good when throwing Saturday.
    Smoltz said he was told of the decision to push back his next start to Friday in Cleveland before he tested the shoulder with light throwing Saturday. He said he was relieved the decision was taken away from him.
    ‘‘In the past I’ve been pretty stubborn,’’ Smoltz said, adding in past years he would have tried to persuade manager Bobby Cox to allow him to pitch Sunday.
    ‘‘The only way I can explain it to you is if I had to pitch tomorrow in the playoffs, it’d be a piece of cake,’’ Smoltz said. ‘‘I’d find a way to do it.’’
    Even so, Smoltz said he agreed with the decision to skip Sunday’s start as he revealed he had a cortisone shot in the shoulder following his last start, a 5-1 loss to Florida on Tuesday.
    ‘‘When I pitched last time, afterward I was probably more uncomfortable than I thought I was going to be,’’ Smoltz said. ‘‘I got a shot and it’s doing great today but I need more time just to make everything work.’’
    Smoltz said ‘‘the whole key’’ for his long-term health is eliminating the inflammation in his shoulder. He said it was better to plan for his next scheduled start on Friday instead of trying to miss just one or two days and affect other starters’ schedules.
    Cormier made only two starts — both against the Cubs — after coming off the disabled list. He was 0-2 with a 15.26 ERA.
    ‘‘For me to be comfortable about going out there, I have to feel good about my arm,’’ said Cormier, a right-hander. ‘‘I’m overthrowing, which is causing mechanical problems which I’m trying to fix.’’

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